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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Latest Otter campaign ad credits guv for economic turnaround, avoid specifics…

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s latest campaign commercial features a real estate broker crediting the GOP governor with turning around the state’s economy and looking out for “all industries.” “Our governor, Butch Otter, has had a lot to do with us coming out of that downturn,” Eagle, Idaho Realtor Tracy Kasper says in the ad, which shows scenes of home construction, manufacturing, and the sun breaking through the clouds over familiar Idaho scenes. “He had to make some tough choices, we all did. He took a hard stance and had to be a big watchdog for all industries.”

“Those are pretty extravagant claims,” said Jim Weatherby, emeritus professor at Boise State University and a longtime observer of Idaho politics, “with no support in the ad, with no documentation or even a specific example of what he accomplished.” Added Weatherby, “I’m not sure the average voter will understand what he’s talking about. The average voter might say: ‘Well, is he a watchdog for me, too?’”

The commercial, which began airing a week ago in southwestern Idaho, doesn’t cite any examples or hard facts, campaign spokeswoman Kaycee Emery said, because “it was completely opinion and a testimonial piece.”

Weatherby said Otter’s ad, like his previous one that cited selective statistics to try to make the case that Idaho’s economy is “on a roll,” appears designed to leave a positive impression about Otter and the economy. After claims in the previous ad were questioned, Weatherby said, “It’s hard to attack this one because it really doesn’t say much substantively.” You can read my full AdWatch story here at; you can see the ad here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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